Although the Occupational Safety and Health Act doesn’t include provisions for criminal penalties, prosecutors will use environmental law to send managers to jail for violations.
A judge has sentenced former Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co. plant manager John Prisque to 70 months in federal prison in connection with safety and environmental violations at the facility.
Prisque, the company and three other managers were convicted of engaging in conspiracy to pollute the Delaware River, expose employees to dangerous conditions and impede federal investigations. The company and three other managers will be sentenced later this week according to the Express-Times.
Among Prisque’s safety violations, he:
- instructed an employee to lie to OSHA about a safety shield that had been changed after an incident in which a worker lost an eye and suffered a fractured skull when a saw blade broke
- concealed facts from OSHA about a forklift fatality
- instructed an injured worker to tell OSHA he didn’t break his leg in a forklift accident, and
- concealed from OSHA that an emergency shutdown device on the plant’s cement mixer had been bypassed, which led to the amputation of three of a worker’s fingers.
Prisque was also found guilty of allowing oil waste to be pumped into a storm drain that created an 8.5-mile slick on the Delaware River and of burning waste paint in the plant’s main furnace.
Atlantic States is a subsidiary of McWane, Inc.